We've been packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child off and on for years. It was a fun tradition with our boys and now our girls are all about it! As we continue to work through trauma - hope is a major component. First and foremost we have hope in Jesus. He is the Healer, Redeemer, Savior, Defender and Protector. As we focus on the truths and promises in scripture - our girl has also found great hope in looking forward with great joy at the idea of God using all of this yuck for His glory - He is growing such a HUGE heart of compassion within her. She absolutely adores the idea of serving others. So, while we can't overwhelm our schedule with too much right now - we have added in something now and then that allows us to be His hands and feet to bless others and bring them hope.
Filling shoeboxes is one of those ways. Such a simple act of love can make such a huge difference in the lives of children without hope. Each of our girls selects a gender and age range. This year - they all chose to pack a box for a girl their own age. First, we sat down and watched a handful of the videos online about assembling shoeboxes, as well as seeing children receive them. SOOO precious! One video seemed almost hand-selected for our teen. (As so many other things in her life lately - so love our Jesus!) The story was of that of a young girl whose life was painfully ripped apart and then Jesus was introduced to her...through a Shoebox. (Along with the goodies that are packed into each box - Samaritan's Purse also tucks a booklet inside that shares the Gospel! Today, this girl is the one reading and teaching the other children in the orphanage from this booklet. A few of us cried (I bawled) watching this video. Oh my how powerful the gospel is - transforming lives, giving hope and healing.
Then we took our girls out shopping to pick out the items for their boxes. We chose some practical things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and wash cloths along with toys, candy, art supplies and more. This was so much fun. They hand-selected each item with love and talked repeatedly about how they wished they could see their "friend" open their box.
We did add pictures of our family and each girl also tucked in a picture of themselves along with a letter introducing themselves - and encouraging their friend. We included a return address just in case these children have the means to respond.
They had great fun assembling their boxes. Then we added labels that will allow us to track their boxes and see where they end up being delivered to. Seems in the past when we've helped volunteer at the Processing Center - all of the boxes from our area go to South and Central America. SO fun! The girls had such blast doing this. I see God growing such generous hearts within our daughters. We have been working through birthdays each month this fall. Viv was 3 in September, Ren was 7 in October, Loe turned 11 in November and Angie will be 15 in a few weeks. Each birthday the girls have taken the money they have (including gift cards they received as gifts) to buy a new gift for their sister's birthday. They beg me daily for about a month to take them shopping. So, it was great fun to watch them assemble these boxes and have such excitement at the thought of hearing back from their new "friends."
Trevor zipped them to a drop-off location last night (at the last minute because that's how we roll). We look forward to volunteering at the Processing Center in the coming years. Kids have to be at least 13. We took the boys down once or twice and it was such fun!